Much has been made about what New Line Cinema did to the Friday the 13th franchise. In their pursuit of a money-spinning Freddy vs Jason crossover they ignored the key ingredient of the series: simple repetition. The Friday the 13th Franchise was the first to make the ‘more of the same’ concept key to its success, but with their body-swapping debut Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday all that went out of the window. Some feel their second effort, Jason X, was another insult to the Paramount formula. Others disagree. Whatever you may think, though it shot Jason into space and tried something novel for the most part, it went back to basics and retained many of the ingredients that made the original series a success. The same cannot be said about Dimension Films, who in their Halloween: H20 pomp aped the already moribund Scream formula and robbed Myers of what little identity he had left.
H20 mercifully dropped the whole druid debacle of the two previous sequels and in doing so promised a return to form. Laurie had no longer died in an off-screen car accident. She was alive and… well, she was alive, and a fated reunion with her relentless nemesis was promising for fans, many of whom would be disappointed by the slick cookie cutter production that turned Michael into a veritable clone of the fast-paced Ghostface. It was only inevitable that producers would update the Halloween formula to appeal to the I Know What You Did Last Summer 90s, and with Friday the 13th Part 2’s Steve Miner directing and Kevin Williamson pulling the creative strings from behind the scenes, you knew you were in for a slick and accomplished slasher, but Myers was too much of an emblematic character to be given the Ghostface treatment. Not satisfied with the debacle that actress Jamie Lee Curtis described as a “money gig”, Dimension Films would return four years later with Halloween Resurrection, and boy did it suck!
It’s interesting that Curtis would once again return for what was little more than a cameo. Was she in it for the creative satisfaction this time around? Or was it a simple case of wanting her character to die for real so she could finally put this horrible mess behind her? Actually, it was neither. In reality, Curtis was contractually obligated to return for this movie, so her onscreen brevity is actually something to be celebrated, not mourned. It may not have been pretty, but she got out fast, and that’s the most she could have hoped for. Presumably she was more concerned with escaping her most famous character than protecting her integrity, because there were no complaints on her part for the way Laurie was treated here. She’s clearly more forgiving than the rest of us.
Apparently, the once courageous and resourceful Miss Strode has been made so dumb by so many needless sequels that she succumbs to Michael after first trapping him like an animal and then making the fatal error of reaching to look under his mask. She just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t an impostor for reasons that are too convoluted to relay. Surely after all this time she’d be able to tell from Michael’s movement alone, despite the plethora of useless stuntmen who have portrayed the character throughout the years. If the 2018 reboot of Halloween got anything right (and it got plenty), it was its decision to turn Laurie into the kind of overly cautious, wily warrior who would have executed this version of herself based on sheer stupidity, or at the very least laid waste to the movie’s equally senseless screenwriter.
So Laurie dies for a second time — not before providing us with the most inexplicable kiss in horror cinema — Loomis bowed out in the sixth instalment of the franchise and Jamie, the only other series protagonist of note, has long-since bitten the dust (in a separate narrative, obviously). So where to next? Well, first of all the screenplay has to write away the pesky beheading that occurred at the end of Halloween H20. You saw that, right? Michael’s head was chopped clean off. Did he reattach said head and recede into the darkness to regroup? Of course not; that would be stupid. Instead it was a simple case of mistaken identity, some other poor schmo having eaten the dull blade of an axe in his place. Why didn’t the guy say anything to warn a vengeful Laurie? Because that cheeky little scamp Myers had crushed his larynx in the kind of precision operation that would leave Ruth Rendell lost for words. We discover these incongruous details thanks to a pair of gossiping nurses, and with that troublesome bit of exposition out of the way we’re ready for the main event.
With nobody from series folklore to turn to, it is left to the Myers house to provide us with a point of relevance. You know, the same house that has been tied to several multiple murders, as well as being abandoned on and off for years (depending on which timeline you’re referring to). With all of this in mind, you’d think this monument to death would have been torn down long ago, or at the very least set on fire by angry residents. After so many years, there’s even a chance that the site of Michael’s virgin kill would have crumbled under the weight of dilapidation.
Sadly, none of this is true. Not only is the house still standing, it is set to become the location for a reality TV venture that will see a group of kids stalked by a fake Michael, until the real thing inevitably shows his rubber pallor. With Laurie finally out of the way, Michael wants to return home, perhaps settle down, find a job and get married, only those money-grabbing a-holes at Dimension just won’t let the big guy rest. Instead, they’re going to make him a new kind of star.
Reality TV. Remember when that was novel and fresh and innovative? No, me neither. In 2002, the use of a plethora of ‘reality’ TV cameras may have been something of a draw, but years later it is dated and grainy and somewhat confusing. Half the time it’s hard to tell what is happening, and I don’t mean in the charming, ‘who’s lurking in the shadows?’ sense. It’s all just a bit rubbish, like finding long lost videos on an old phone, only to realise they’re not worth saving.
As for the cast, let me start by saying that pop stars do not belong in a Halloween movie (the reasons for which should be self-explanatory to any fan of the series), and I know many of you feel the exact same way. Other than that the cast are utterly forgetful, with a female protagonist who may as well not exist. The movie even carries a 15 certificate without a drop of gore in sight. I mean, what on Earth was I watching here?
The stars of the show, broadcast over the internet, are in search of Myers-related clues for reasons that are too pointless to elaborate on, but in reality the house is rigged with fake corpses by heartless TV execs looking to exploit their subjects for the sake of ratings ― a fairly interesting concept that is woefully executed. The action is positively anaemic. If the house was bigger, say like a haunted mansion, and more creativity was applied to the concept, it may have piqued the interest just a little, but no luck. Then we have fake hard man Busta Rhymes, whose sub-par karate moves are enough to put Michael down for an 8 count, when in reality he only served to put the series down for a TKO.